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Sit-to-Stand Exercises: Strengthen Your Muscles for Hiking and Reduce Knee Pain

Updated: Mar 2

An old adage states, 'How you do one thing is how you do everything.' There's too much nuance in life to make this entirely accurate, but there is one thing that hikers with knee pain tend to do. They often sit down with a bit of a plop and use the arms of the chair to push themselves up to stand. Whether this movement pattern starts in response to knee pain or because the factors that cause knee pain when hiking also show up in this movement is up for debate. However, the truth is that you can work on building strength and control every time you sit down and stand up.

First, notice if you tend to do either of these things. It might be subtle, and you may not realize you're doing it, so start paying attention. If you do, here's what to try the next time you sit down. Bend your knees more, hinge at the hips, and sit back toward the seat with control. Lower slowly, avoid plopping, and reach back for the arms of the chair only if you feel you need help with balance. Alternatively, extend your arms straight out in front of you as if doing a squat to help with balance as you slowly lower down.

When you stand, scoot to the edge of your chair. Place your feet right under your knees and hinge forward if needed as you push up from the ground through your feet. Avoid using momentum to swing yourself upward. Use the arms of the chair only if required.

Once you're standing and sitting with good control on two legs, try lowering to sitting on one leg, keeping the knee tracking over your toes and not wobbling in or out, and then standing up on two legs. Again, reach back for the arms of the chair if needed or extend your arms out in front for balance.

When you're confident in lowering on one leg, try standing using one leg only. Again, control the knee so that it tracks over the toes. Alternate legs each time you stand.

These simple exercises help strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint. Do them regularly, and you'll see how much more control you gain in sitting and standing and feel the results on the trail!


Hey Hiker, if you worry about keeping up with the group or not making it back to the trailhead becuase of your knee pain, I can help! Schedule a consultation today and learn how the Easing Knee Pain Group Program can help you hike further, with less knee pain, and more confidence!

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